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Outdoor tile consideration checklist

Have you ever got really excited about a tile – selected the colour and style that works, received approval from your client – only to find at the final hurdle that it isn’t suitable after all?

Perhaps it’s too heavy to work with your pedestal system? Or it doesn’t meet anti-slip regulations? Or it isn’t the right fit for the surroundings?

Use our checklist – call it the A to W of outdoor tiles – to ensure you take every factor into consideration, and make those frustrating moments of realisation a thing of the past.

A is for Aesthetics

As a designer or architect, the look you’re aiming to achieve will always be your starting point. But don’t get carried away before considering the bigger picture. Heritage and local surroundings are key here.

  • Are you trying to blend in or stand out? A contemporary look in a traditional area can work well, but is also likely to be greeted with resistance.

B is for Brute Strength

Once you’ve decided on the look, you need to think about finding a material that’s fit for purpose. Now’s the time to consider what the tiles are going to be used for.

  • For example, if you’re installing them on a pedestal system, they’ll need to be strong – remember, your engineer will specify the strength required.

C is for Compliance

Specially, anti-slip compliance. Commercial buildings and public spaces are governed by regulations which you need to take into account. And restrictions for tiles on pavements next to roads are stricter.

  • Working on a residential project? There are no official regulations for domestic projects, but we’d recommend a PSV of 36.

D is for Durability

Outdoor tiles need to stand the test of time and be able to withstand the elements. For example, porcelain tiles have a low water absorption rate, meaning they’re less likely to grow moss and algae.

  • You also need to consider whether your chosen material is frost, chemical and stain resistant.

I is for Installation

We’re always around to give advice on paving laying methods. But it’s often worth involving an engineer for advice on the substructure.

  • For example, even if the application is just for pedestrian use, you need to give consideration to the fact that emergency vehicles may want to access the area.

L is for Lead Time

Your tile supplier needs to be aware of your deadlines and able to commit to them. There’s nothing worse than being held responsible for a project going off track.

  • Ensure that the tile supplier you choose has a good reputation and is able to prove that they’ll supply all materials on time and within budget.

M is for Money

You need to have the budget in mind all the time. But you may find it’s persuasive to emphasise the long-term benefits of an upfront investment.

  • For example, porcelain is pricey, yet it’s the most durable tile material and is incredibly easy to maintain.

R is for Research

You may think your design ideas are spot on. But there’s always room for a bit of tweaking and improvement.

  • Get out and about to get the feel for other recently completed projects in the area – and check out the portfolios of your favourite architects and designers.

S is for Smoothness

It’s all very well getting fixated on a Riven sandstone only to discover that the paving will be used for chairs and tables.

  • The key is to make sure you keep the intended use of the project in mind at all times.

W is for Weight

Last but by no means least, don’t forget the question of weight. This can be a particular challenge for roof terrace projects, where the tiles need to be strong yet light enough to be laid on a pedestal system.

  • For example, natural stone or concrete tiles need to be at least 60mm thick to achieve the desired strength – yet porcelain tiles of 20mm are stronger.

Looking for paving that’s smooth and anti-slip? Read our blog.